In last weeks Advertizer I spoke about the cinema, Granada in Oswestry in September 1960.

Films shown at the Granada in Oswestry in the September were the Sands of the Desert starring Charlie Drake and Seven Thieves with Edward G Robinson as the main star. The Century cinema, starring Aldo Ray were entertaining the locals with Day They Robbed The Bank of England. Their other “reeled” rendition was Mountain Road starring James Stewart.

On September 28 1960 the Advertizer main headline concerned a 22-year-old labourer sent to jail for a month for being intoxicated and unruly while assaulting a Salvation Army officer at an Oswestry Hotel. Elsewhere in the area the workers at Elson camp had concerns of their own. They had been informed the depot was due to be closed down in June 1961. The premises at that time were used for the production and refurbishing of furniture for the War Department. While on the mention of war, that week the United States of America launched their first atomic powered aircraft carrier known as USS Enterprise.

Other headlines in the local paper included a missing 30 year old farm labourer from Yellow Oak Farm, Penylan near Ruabon. He had been unaccounted for a number of days. It was reported the Police were being helped in the hunt for his whereabouts by 200 pupils from nearby Lindisfarne College. While all this was going on in the area that week there was a combat in Shropshire against fowl pest. That September about 50,000 chickens and Turkeys had to be destroyed at The Grove, Craven Arms due to the spread of the dreaded disease. Another story related to two 15 year old boys who had absconded from Boreatton Approved School and later broke into some premises at Park Hall to commit theft.

In those days there were so many makes of cars so there were quite a few small dealerships all over the UK. The Advertizer would devote much space for local dealers to advertise their cars for sale and various services they offered. In Oswestry were included Ellis Garage, Salop Road, Oswestry who specialised in most of the cars of BMC, Morris, Riley, Wolseley and MG. (EJ Gittens were Austin dealers). The Ellis Garage also offered new Land Rover, Triumph, Standard and Rover. Roy Evans sold the cars of the Rootes Group while Arthurs offered new and used Vauxhall and Bedford vehicles. There was so much competition in the town. Nearly 60 years on and Arthurs still sell new Vauxhalls. Other motor agents that come to mind in Oswestry at that time were Oswestry Motors, Victoria Road selling the Renault brand and the VW agent known as Keen

While motor cars brought much freedom to many after the war they could bring much grief. According to the aforementioned Advertizer in September 1960 a vicar from Anglesey who had previously preached in the Llanfyllin area was killed in a car accident while on the way to his cousin’s funeral. The Reverend Owen William Owen was travelling near Llanrwst when the misfortune happened. Another man of the “cloth” mentioned that week was the Bishop of Stafford who appeared according to reports gave a very direct sermon which was entitled “I’m all right Jack!” when preaching from the pulpit at the Oswestry Parish Church Harvest Festival.

In other parts of the world during that period, Fidel Castro nationalized the tobacco industry of Cuba reinforcing his dictatorship. A different man by the name of Castro died at age of 55 that month. He had only one arm but this had not prevented his ability to play football for Uruguay in 1930 and helping them to win the World Cup. With reference to the game of football the sports page of the September 28th 1960 Advertizer had to report Oswestry had been knocked out of the F.A. Cup when playing away at Kidderminster. They were beaten by the home team 2-1 although there appeared to be some controversy concerning the penalty awarded to Kidderminster amongst the Oswestry supporters.

Across the Atlantic in the USA on the 26th September 1960, Two US Presidential candidates, Richard M Nixon and John F Kennedy took part in the first televised Presidential debate. It is only recently that this sort of practice has been adopted among candidates in the UK.

Moving on to Gobowen, this village tucked away in the most north westerly part of Shropshire was once situated on the main A5 route until it was by-passed in more recent times. However, it has not always been named as Gobowen. It appears it was once known Bryn-Castell (“Hill of the Castle” in English). This hamlet originated with the erection of a Norman castle in the vicinity of the Preeshenlle United Reform Church which of course was built at a later date. Adjacent to this monument there is a part of the 8th Century Wat’s Dyke. There are a couple of theories why the name of the village was changed. One presumption is that Gob can also be interpreted as the word “pillow”. The Owen part of the name relates to that of Glendower who was said to have once stayed the night at Gobowen (hence resting his head on a “pillow” it seems!) in between his many battles. I personally find this assumption regarding the name hard to believe but no doubt anything is possible. However, there is yet another hypothesis on how Gobowen came to contract its name. A gentleman by the name of Owen established a mine in the area of the village. Mine in the ancient Welsh language can be translated as Gob so allied to the mine owner’s name interprets Gobowen. I am more inclined to be convinced by this theory. The mines at Gobowen were filled and sealed during the Second World War by the POWs interned at the nearby Bank Top POW camp, St Martins.

Gobowen is well known for its railway station. When the Chester-Shrewsbury main line was installed I am surprised it did not pass through Oswestry instead of Gobowen. This important station was first constructed in 1848. The building was styled upon certain Italian architecture. There is still a remnant of the Cambrian branch line running from Gobowen railway station to Oswestry. This was closed in November 1966. I think this could have been utilised in a Park & Ride scheme using a small shuttle train to limit the amount of road traffic entering Oswestry. Of course this cannot happen due the level crossing on the A5. If only there had been a railway bridge there! The Hart and Trumpet inn by the level crossing in Gobowen first started selling pints in 1800 owned by John Jones who resided at Moss Fields, Whitchurch. The landlord of the inn at that time was Samuel Bowyer who was considered to be very efficient at his profession of running this public house. Of course we cannot mention Gobowen without mentioning the well known hospital on the fringe of this Salop village. It was officially opened in 1921 due to the tireless efforts of Dame Agnes Hunt and Sir Robert Jones. Sir Robert who was born in Rhyl, North Wales was an orthopaedic surgeon who Dame Agnes Hunt, a qualified nurse from Salop Infirmary originally from Baschurch met when she consulted him at Liverpool about severe pain in her hips.

They seemed to make a great team when they opened a small military hospital at Florence House in Baschurch during the First World War. A few years later they transferred their medical practices to what is now known to many as the Orthopaedic Hospital at Park Hall near Gobowen.The rest is history.